The team here at NZGamer.com get to do some pretty cool things in the course of bringing you the latest in videogame information.
Tristan recently hit Gamescom in Germany like a kid in a candy store, and Alan, Angus, Jess, and Conrad all had lots of fun in the LA sun at E3 this year. All of them got to meet game luminaries and see the hottest new titles behind the scenes before anyone else. Editor Alan also became BFFs with Che Fu, before laying down the smack talk to Manu Vatuvai (and he lived to see another day!)
Okay, I did get to meet my personal heroes the Wellington Phoenix earlier in the year (which was O for Awesome!)...but to date, that was my only taste of the glory that the other NZGamer.com writers probably laugh about in the Senior Writers Luxury Lounge.
Now, finally, it’s my time to shine... because I got to train with Ma’a Nonu.
Weeeeeeeeeeeeeeell, sort of...
I've been putting Adidas micoach through its paces, to let you all know whether it’s the sort of thing you really can use at home for fitness, or whether your money would be better spent on a pair of bigger pants.
And Ma’a Nonu is in it. So yeah, you know I’ll be telling this story to friends and family with a heavy slant towards “Nonu and I are training buddies now.”
To be frank, NZGamers, your humble reviewer approached this from a fitness level we like to call, in the trade, “rock bottom”.
Micoach claims to “bring fun and rewards to your fitness regime to make you stronger, faster and better at your sport.” Does it do what it says on the tin? And can it appeal to non-sporty types too?
While you can put in your full body details, to track progress, this definitely seems to be more a fitness type of game, rather than weight loss centred. Sure, in a game like the Biggest Loser, it’s all about the weight loss, so there’s lots of body scanning, measuring, setting your goals, etc. Micoach is different - the aim is either to develop your general fitness, or pick your sport, and do the recommended exercises to help slot in with the rest of your training/strength routine for that sport.
And of course, a few stars of world sport are thrown in to motivate you with your training. My favourites were Nonu (naturally) and Kaka, and I enjoyed Kaka’s introduction story of how he had recovered from a very serious spinal injury, which required dedication and hard work to get back to the top again.
The exercises I personally enjoyed the most were the interval training type ones, with my buddy Kaka. But there are a huge range of exercises to try, so if you are really serious, it will take you a long time to get bored of the selection on offer here.
It’s not perfect of course... the chatting your celebrity sports trainer does during workouts seems to vary very little... even after a couple of circuits you can pretty much speak their lines along with them. The minigames (shoot baskets, fire goals at a football goalie, etc) were fun to play, and interacted with the Kinect very smoothly. But they did get pretty same-y, so it was good to have a few to choose from.
The Kinect version you see of yourself in Micoach is pretty good resolution, and in colour, although a little cartoon-y.
There is still the familiar issue of trying to navigate your way around the menu system, and choosing your options without a controller is about as much fun as it sounds. There are what seem like gazillions of options, too, and until you get comfortable with the Micoach ‘swipe’ technique, this can seem pretty onerous. Oddly enough, the swipe part was pretty easy... I struggled initially with the up and down arrows, which came before the swipe selection. The voice control wasn’t brilliant either, but it seemed to get the general idea, and seemed to understand my New Zealand accent most of the time. Although I generally had to yell at it, before it heard me, which probably annoyed my neighbours.
Is it hard? Well, the first time I tried a 30 minute workout I was huffing and puffing like an obscene phone caller, and drenched in sweat! After the workout, I felt completely exhausted and had to lie quietly for twenty minutes or so, so yes: if you put in the effort, you will definitely get a decent workout!
The sheer volume of content is really good, and the “entry level” program was well pitched for me at my beginner level. (Not being an elite athlete, I couldn’t comment on whether this would be any good for the ultra-fit. I suppose I could ask my training buddy Ma’a Nonu?)
Of course, as with any fitness or training regime, you have to get yourself off the couch first, which no fancy controller, Fitness DVD, whizz bang technology, or shouty personal trainer is going to be able to fix for you. Once you get past that, however, you’ve got a good tool here, and Adidas Micoach could be a great way to get yourself fit; especially if you prefer to work out in the privacy of your own home, or don’t have the cash to splash out on three or four personal training sessions a week.